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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Bale of Hay Saloon

Bale of Hay Saloon

J. F. Stoer, a dealer in groceries and liquor, occupied this building from 1869 to about 1890. Smith and Boyd then made the building into a saloon, calling it the "Bale of Hay." The front was remodeled slightly at that time.

Smith and Boyd continued to operate the Bale of Hay Saloon until 1908. The "Bale" then stood empty until 1945 when the Boveys restored it as a saloon. The main part of the Bale of Hay is exactly the way the Boveys found it, except for the ornate 1880's bar and back bar which came from a saloon in Benchland, Montana.

Bale of Hay Saloon

Parts of the building were damaged by a fire in 1983, but the saloon was soon restored in 1985. Big, stuffed trophy heads from moose, buffalo, and other animals now hang on its walls, and old amusement machines are inside. These details made the saloon a perfect set for the movie Little Big Man in 1970.

In 1947 a log addition to the Bale of Hay Saloon was built by the Boveys. It provided space a bigger stage for the Virginia City Players, as they had quickly outgrown the tiny stage in the main front room of the Bale of Hay. This log addition now serves to connect the saloon and the opera house. Coincidentally, a log building of similar appearance stood in the same place the 1860's.

Special acknowledgements to: John D. Ellingsen, John N. DeHass, Tony Dalich, and Ken Sievert, Tom Cook and Ellen Baumler of the Montana Historical Society.

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